Thursday, May 16, 2013

Featurette's Syndrome: Ladies Night! Women's Consumer Choice

Featurette: Consumer Choice Nominee Smelling Session Part 1, For the lovely, lovely ladies.

Summer officially hit the far north. Finally. It has been a long winter, which is how the winters used to be before all of this warming nonsense. But anyways. It was damn nice to see a hot day, but it did look bizarre considering how there are still some spots of snow here and there. Regardless, I don't trust the outdoors when nature lapses into multiple personality disorder, so I'm holed up with my collection and contemplating how this big busy barnyard of bottles is going to work in in the scheme to give me total world domination. One day at a time I guess.

My collection grew by 8 to 10 bottles and a handful of samples in the past couple of months. I'm still digesting them mentally, using the ones I like frequently, and getting to know them and how they fit into the collection in the long run. (I'm reminded of Linda Belcher singing to her Little Babies collection on Bob's Burgers. Best show ever by the way, check it out.) Because I'm currently in a post-mass-purchase euphoria, I can't comprehend much in the way of a review or thesis. However, not to fear, I received my sampler of the nominees for the FiFi... err.... Fragrance Foundation Awards Consumer Choice categories yesterday.

I've said before I'd swear off women's fragrances from my content because they are the infinite, dominant force in the fragrance world and frankly don't need to be bandied about anymore, but seeing as I've been granted the full sample selection and a vote I feel it would be a missed opportunity without adding my two cents. And, although anybody could have registered, I still feel special and glamourous voting, like somebody voting for the Oscars. Anyways, let's push on.

The nominees and samples for the women's category consisted of:
  • Fame by Lady GaGa
  • Dot by Marc Jacobs
  • Girlfriend by Justin Bieber
  • Premiere by Gucci
  • La Vie Est Belle by Lancome
  • and Coco Noir by Chanel
I sampled each one blind (with assistance), then I smelled each one again knowing which was which, because to me bottling is a pertinent X factor. (I did make one switch in the ranks because of it, but it didn't matter as there is only one possible vote.)

Anyways, let's start with the bottom of the ranks and work up. Last and least was Girlfriend. I mean, it smells hideous as is. I can definitely see a watered down version being worn by juniors and high school girls (perhaps a Bonne-Belle like experience), but it has the strong potency of an adult fragrance that doesn't match. It's a bit like the stale fruit juice left open from a kegger the night before which didn't quite make it to being mixed with the hard liquor. Seeing what name and bottle went with it just made it even worse.

Second to last was Coco Noir. Chanel's bold attempt at a classic French era women's evening fragrance seemed a bit too strong and ashen for my tastes, but I could definitely see where they were going with it. The deeper notes are definitely en vogue for 2013. Although it is a great fragrance it did not quite have the gravitas to be fragrance of the year.

4th place overall was Dot by Marc Jacobs. I LOVE Marc Jacobs the designer and the brand, especially the men's fragrances, and I even love this fragrance, Dot. However, much like my opinion about Coco Noir, the notes are too ordinarily classic. While Dot is more fresh and has an up to date floral/botanical style to give it a bit more of a fun kick it doesn't scream fragrance of the year.

3rd was La Vie Est Belle. Sweet, charming, and sophisticated, but not too sophisticated to detract from the soft perfume allure. It definitely has the gourmand feel but has just enough fluff and duff to make it float away from being a heavy dessert disaster. Again, great on its own merits, but it did not have an X factor.

That left just two, and I couldn't decide which was better for the longest time. On one hand, Fame had a warm, sweet, and even leathery modern aura, but on the other hand Premiere NAILED a 21st century take on a cosmopolitan musk-like experience. I sampled both a few rounds, rolled the feeling around in my head, made notes, recited poetry, and in the end, I had to give it to...

by Lady GaGa

Lady GaGa. Wow. Picking a huge celebutante's fragrance surprised the hell out of me. I'm not a huge fan of hers, but this scent stuck with me in a good way. Although both Fame and Premiere I absolutely adored, the feeling behind Fame felt to be the more modern and evolutionary of the two; definitely fragrance of the year worthy. And the innovative opaque black liquid in a clear bottle didn't hurt either. I recommend trying any of my top 4, and, straight fellas, they would make a great gifts for chicks.

Next up I'll have a more serious look at the men's category of Consumer Choice and its four nominees. Well, three, considering my package didn't contain one of the samples! And I gave it an automatic 0! Stick around and find out which one didn't show up for the party, and what my vote went to.

Peace Out

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Re-View Re-MIIIIIIIX KICKIN' IT OLD SCHOOL M***********!!!!!!!: Gravity by Coty

Ahh... 1992
Clinton got elected.
Boyz II Men, Whitney Houston, and Vanessa Williams topped the charts.
And grand perfumier and fragrance house Coty launched Gravity for men.

Gravity by Coty

The Goods

Gravity still has an active fanbase 21 years in the future, but like many specific fragrances breaking free from the ordinary it has its detractors. As far as I'm concerned, Gravity deserves a place in honorable fragrance history along with the greats. Why? It's hard to explain. You had to be there. Much in the way the few insiders from back in the day knew the real Kurt Cobain in his Seattle halcyon days before Nirvana's success, you had to be there.

With a basic dying-days-of-the-yuppie note combination of leather and white pepper creating the scent foundation, Gravity doesn't feel like anything special upon first sampling. The finish and middle notes however, create a deceptively complex foreshadowing of the fragrance future. Now, before you get annoyed and shake your head, I do ramble on about the 1990s in fragrance to an excessive degree. But you had to be there. Let's go back.

Gravity was the very first fragrance I owned (I still have it on my collection shelf), which was given as a gift to me at all of age 6 or 7 to mark some occasion in which I was supposed to appear formally. (A lot of pressure for a kid in the relatively middle of nowhere). Mind you, as a FANCY boy, I was no stranger to the concept of scents. In fact, as a toddler I sniffed and smelled everything to the point of looking like an adorable, precious crack baby getting his fix. This desire to smell things that smelled good was so strong I used various soap items as toys, especially the smaller bars halfway between a normal bath bar and a hotel sized soap, along with real toys because I preferred everything smell just so. In light of this Gravity didn't seem like anything unexpected. What made it a momentous occasion for me, however, was that this this was supposed to be something that I owned outright, as opposed to the barfening array of early to mid 20th century concoctions like Old Spice, English Leather, and any number of colorful potions and flankers put out by our lovely local Avon lady that various relatives on my mom's side had worn over the years. I didn't like any of them, really. If anything I was apathetic. But when I first smelled Gravity everything in my little head exploded. The nuances screamed time that moved forward, rather than time that stood still.

Argent's Fragrance Theatre

This new review feature will be the monologue or dialogue of a character I imagine who would use the particular fragrance in review, and it would be his favorite. Let the joyful thespanism and comedy commence! *Ahem*

"Hey! Stop looking at me. I don't know what the big idea is but you're making me feel really uncomfortable. No. I don't have it. I'll try to get it. Yeah yeah. The copier sucks. I don't know. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. I said maybe OK? Maybe. Uh-huh. Yeah. They're calling it Windows 95. Isn't that stupid? Okay. Yeah. No. Awesome. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, man, super funny. NOT! I'm out."


While Gravity can be on the light lasting side and have the elements of a basic all-purpose fragrance, its subtleties defined, for me anyways, the before and the after of fragrance. The harmony of the classic masculine aromas and the sweet, sharp ornamental notes really put it at the forefront of the style of its time.

Rank It Up!

5 of 7 Sprays